Israel, 2016, 87 min, 2K DCP, Dir. Elite Zexer, Not Rated, Arabic with English subtitles, Kino Lorber
"Dramatically absorbing." – Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter
"A solid, sensitive, feature directing debut." – Manohla Dargis, New York Times
"One of the most-admired films at this year's Sundance. A lovely, deeply affecting film." – Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine
As wedding festivities get underway in a Bedouin village in Israel, Jalila finds herself in the awkward position of hosting her husband Suliman's marriage to a second, much younger wife. During the celebration, Jalila stumbles across eldest daughter Layla's involvement with a boy from her university - a strictly forbidden liaison that would shame the family. Burying the indignity of Suliman and his new bride living next door, Jalila also tries to contain Layla's situation by clamping down on her. But younger and possessed of a boundless spirit, Layla sees a different life for herself. Both women are caught in a tangled web of familial obligations and sexual humiliation - a reactionary framework that continues to defy even rudimentary notions of Western individuality and freedom. Director Elite Zexer's artful storytelling derives its authenticity - its complexity of character, rich detail and subtle humor - from the 10 years she's spent interacting with Bedouin women. Set in the vast, often gorgeous Negev desert, this may be the first movie in which cellphones share the screen with polygamous nomads. Winner of 6 Israeli Academy Awards including Best Film, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress, Sand Storm also picked up the Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema at Sundance. Not surprisingly, it is Israel' s Official Entry to the Oscars. Mark your calendars.